Frankfurt Galaxy: Footballers on miserable living conditions

ONEWhen the Frankfurt Galaxy won the final of the European League of Football (ELF) in Düsseldorf at 32:30 against the Hamburg Sea Devils at the end of September, the football world seemed to be in order. The brilliant winners from Main lifted the shining trophy into the air in triumph – they were the first winners of this new league. The fists of success were still tied in Frankfurt when less good news came around. A few professionals were dissatisfied and made their dissatisfaction public. They only clenched their fists of anger and disappointment.

Omari Williams, who criticized the accommodation of the so-called import players in August, started. The defensive back complained about what he saw as the miserable living conditions of the foreign professionals. Up to 13 of them were housed in an old family home in Sossenheim. The accommodation already had the euphemistic name “Purple Paradise” in the days when the first division club Frankfurt Universe used it as a home for its professionals.

“Never worse than here”

Galaxy took over the house from Universe – as well as the office, the team, the coaching staff and almost the entire administrative team. “We reported our complaints to the club’s management on day one, but nothing happened,” Williams wrote on Facebook. The story came around and Williams was laughed at by many.

But others have now spoken up. Like Desmond Cooper. The man is a seasoned pro and has already played as a safety guard for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL. “Our life situation in Frankfurt was bad,” Cooper told FAZ. “I’ve never had worse living conditions than here.” When Omari Williams expressed his criticism, he was even mocked. But he only asked for things that were perfectly normal, Cooper says: for “adequate living conditions and accountability.”


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The third complainant was Kadel King. The 25-year-old British defensive back from London described on Facebook the conditions that he and his teammates had to cope with in the “purple paradise”: “Mold everywhere, cockroaches, rats, no hot water for several months, leaks in the kitchen.” King also complains of ridicule from the environment, which was directed at anyone who condemned the assaults.

In fact, the house in Sossenheim has never been luxury accommodation. Daniel Zeidler, CEO of Frankfurt Universe, knows the residence very well, as the first division club also housed imported players there. The mix of apartments for men and the architectural charm of the 1960s created a special atmosphere. “In our time, conditions there were still acceptable,” Zeidler says. This year, however, a burst water pipe in the house caused damage and was apparently never properly repaired. The consequences: moisture, black mold, stench.

Galaxy is silent about the accusations

Cooper also reports a defective oil heater. At times, the house smelled like a dilapidated sea lining. “There was definitely a huge renovation backlog in this house,” Zeidler says, “so the landlord should have done a lot more.” There was not even a caretaker at the end of the season. There are various accounts of his departure. “He was fired from the Galaxy,” Cooper claims. “I think he gave up on himself,” says Zeidler, who can not help but criticize: “Galaxy actually started to make everything more professional. And now this.”

The attempt to get an opinion on the allegations from the ELF club was unsuccessful. “We will not comment on this matter,” said Julia Reininger, spokeswoman for Galaxy. It may also be because lawyers are now involved. Not because of the dilapidated house, but because of another point that sheds a dull light on the glorious winners of Frankfurt.

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Both King and Cooper had sustained injuries during the season and needed surgery. King had flown home after being unhappy with the treatment of his knee in Frankfurt. The first six weeks of his rehabilitation were “disgusting”. After that, he would have been “thrown on the plane with his knee literally deformed”.

Cooper had undergone ankle surgery and was initially satisfied with the course of the operation and the rehabilitation. But the club left him alone with the complicated formalities. To date, he has received only a portion of a single monthly salary. However, the American was already out on July 17 in the home game against the Barcelona Dragons. He was told several times in the Galaxy front office that “the paperwork was completed”. “But they lied.”

Cooper is deeply disappointed. “I do not mind this league, but I do mind the fact that professionals who risk their health here for 1,000 to 2,000 euros a month are treated so badly.” Now, Cooper has hired a lawyer to defend his claims against the club.

According to rumors, Galaxy has now responded and wants to hire a team leader who will support professionals with the formalities of professional associations or health insurance companies. It is also said that James McGoldrick, Frankfurt fitness entrepreneur and shareholder in Galaxy, looked at the house in Sossenheim and found that it needed renovation. At the end of October, the players organized themselves into a trade union, which is to represent their interests vis-à-vis the ELF and their clubs. As for Frankfurt, Cooper has already decided. Asked if he would consider playing for Galaxy again, he said: “No. This is not where I want to be.”

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